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Initial Estimates Show Digital Economy Accounted for 6.5 Percent of GDP in 2016

March 15, 2018 by NTIA

This blog post was cross-posted on BEA's website.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released, for the first time, preliminary statistics and an accompanying report exploring the size and growth of the digital economy. Goods and services that are primarily digital accounted for 6.5 percent of the U.S. economy, or $1.2 trillion, in 2016, after a decade of growing faster than the U.S. economy overall, BEA’s research shows. These new estimates are supported in part by funding from NTIA.

From 2006 to 2016, the digital economy grew at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent, outpacing overall U.S. economic growth of 1.5 percent per year.

In 2016, the digital economy supported 5.9 million jobs, or 3.9 percent of total U.S. employment. Digital economy employees earned $114,275 in average annual compensation compared with $66,498 per worker for the total U.S. economy.

BEA includes in its definition of the digital economy three major types of goods and services:

Electing Doreen Bogdan-Martin Would Be a Historic Step Forward for the ITU

March 08, 2018 by David J. Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator

Doreen Bogdan-Martin

For more than 100 years, March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day, honoring the achievements of women and advocating for greater gender parity.

While women have made great progress in the past century, from the voting booth to the boardroom, there are still many institutions that haven’t kept pace. For example, in its 153-year history, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has never elected a woman for any of its five elected leadership roles.

This year, the voting members of the ITU have a chance to take a significant step forward by electing Doreen Bogdan-Martin as Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, or D-Sector. Bogdan-Martin is an ITU veteran and former NTIA official who will bring dynamic leadership to this important body.

The ITU, originally founded to coordinate telegraph signals, is responsible for assigning global spectrum and satellite orbits, which are key functions for U.S. space and national security policy. The ITU also promotes access to technology and develops technical interconnection standards.

ITS Spectrum Efficiency Report Examines the Past, Looks to the Future for New Solutions

March 05, 2018 by Keith Gremban, Director of the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences

Every new innovation in connected devices promises exciting possibilities for the future, but it also means greater demand for spectrum, a critical and limited resource used both by the public and private sectors. 

NTIA is committed to ensuring that the government’s use of this valuable resource is as efficient and effective as possible. But what does it mean to be an efficient user of spectrum? And how can future systems make better use of spectrum? NTIA’s research laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunications Sciences (ITS), digs into these questions in a new report providing a thorough survey of the history of spectrum efficiency. ITS reviewed more than 50 years of studies examining domestic and international spectrum efficiency to hone insights for future research.

The report found broad consensus on fundamental spectrum efficiency metrics, which consider increasing productive spectrum use and reducing spectrum blocking.  Studies also agreed that spectrum efficiency metrics are most appropriate for comparing similar spectrum dependent systems or for optimizing the deployment of similar systems within a frequency band. 

Based on the research, ITS makes a number of recommendations addressing spectrum sharing, and suggestions for how best to focus future spectrum efficiency studies to enable the United States to maximize spectrum opportunities.

NTIA Grant Program to Help States and Territories Continue Planning for FirstNet Deployment

March 01, 2018 by NTIA

NTIA is pleased to announce the first award recipients of the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) 2.0, which will provide as much as $43.4 million to help states and territories prepare for FirstNet’s buildout of the nationwide public safety broadband network.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 tasked NTIA with establishing a grant program to assist states and territories with planning for FirstNet, a nationwide wireless broadband network for public safety that that launched last year under the leadership of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Under the original program, NTIA awarded $116.5 million in grants to 54 U.S. states and territories between July 2013 and June 2014. The funding was used to consult with FirstNet and perform outreach to public safety stakeholders. The original grants expired February 28, 2018, and many recipients spent less than expected, leaving leftover funds.

NTIA is reallocating these funds in a second round of grants, SLIGP 2.0, which will allow for a broader range of planning activities, such as assisting state, local and tribal governments in developing data sharing agreements, helping with the transition of public safety applications to the national public safety broadband network, analyzing coverage gaps, and convening stakeholder meetings at FirstNet’s request.

NTIA Identifies 3450-3550 MHz for Study as Potential Band for Wireless Broadband Use

February 26, 2018 by David J. Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator

Americans rely on broadband Internet access to stay connected, to conduct business, to interact with the government, and for entertainment. Our nation’s broadband needs are increasingly wireless. Whether it’s 5G wireless technologies that promise to deliver dramatic increases in wireless broadband speeds and bandwidth, or the unlicensed technologies we place in our homes, businesses, and communities, wireless broadband technologies are paving the way for transformative changes that will improve health care, advance manufacturing and benefit public safety.

America is the world’s leader in Wi-Fi and 4G LTE and we have claimed an early lead in bringing 5G to reality. It’s essential to American competitiveness that we maintain our leadership in all of these areas. This is a Commerce Department priority under Secretary Wilbur Ross, who understands that to fully realize this potential, we need more spectrum to support broadband data access across the electromagnetic spectrum. 

To meet this growing need, NTIA, in coordination with the Department of Defense (DOD) and other federal agencies, has identified 100 megahertz of spectrum for potential repurposing to spur commercial wireless innovation. This spectrum, the 3450-3550 MHz band, is in the mid-frequency range and could be a key asset in our nation’s broadband spectrum inventory.    

NTIA Recommends Improvements to the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection

January 03, 2018 by John B. Morris, Jr., Associate Administrator, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

NTIA relies on sound data to understand the state of communications and information use in the United States, and to develop policies that promote robust broadband services across the country. Since 1994, NTIA has been collecting data on broadband adoption and usage in the United States. Our work has been complemented in recent years by the Federal Communications Commission’s Form 477 data program.

Broadband providers—including both wired and wireless providers—complete Form 477 to report where they offer service, as well as what speeds they offer and the technologies they use, among other information. The data collected through Form 477 constitute a critical resource for NTIA, as well as other policymakers and researchers who are interested in understanding Internet access in the United States. This week, in response to the FCC seeking ideas for how to improve its Form 477 data collection, NTIA filed comments recommending specific measures the FCC can take to enhance the program.

In the filing, NTIA recommends improvements to two aspects of the Form 477 program. First, the FCC should bolster the accuracy of the broadband availability data. During every reporting period, numerous providers from across the country, using a range of different methodologies, submit data on every Census block they serve. Such extensive data are bound to include some inaccuracies and differences based on providers’ interpretations of reporting instructions.

NTIA Data Offers Window Into Understanding Veterans’ Computer and Internet Use

November 08, 2017 by Giulia McHenry, Chief Economist, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Broadband can play an essential role in supporting veterans by providing access to services and helping them to establish a stable and fulfilling civilian life.

As we honor our veterans this week, we take seriously our responsibility to ensure their seamless transition civilian life and recognize that it’s critical to that all veterans have access to broadband.

Understanding the barriers to veterans’ broadband access and adoption is the first step to reducing the challenges veterans face as they seek out job opportunities, affordable housing, vital health services and more.

In advance of Veterans Day, NTIA conducted an analysis of its Digital Nation data to better understand the landscape of veterans’ computer and internet use in America.  Since 1994, NTIA has partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to survey Americans about their computer and Internet use. Were we able to break out the data by veteran status going all the way back to our earliest data collections. We also added “Veteran Status” as a search option in our Data Explorer tool so that the public can more easily examine the data and create custom charts about internet use by veterans.

ITS Research Offers New Avenues for Improving Speech Recognition in Wireless Communications

October 18, 2017 by Keith Gremban, Director of the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences

Noise is one of the more vexing communications issues first responders face during emergencies. Emergency scenes are often loud and chaotic, and responders must compete with background noise — sirens, yelling, a roaring fire, severe weather and more — when trying to communicate with the command center and each other.

Improving over-the-air transmissions so that essential verbal communications can be heard above background noise is part of the goal of signal processing, a decades-long specialty of NTIA’s research laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS). This week, ITS is presenting research that offers new avenues for addressing speech separation problems while enabling more efficient use of spectrum. The research could lead to solutions that produce higher speech quality, better speech intelligibility and less distorted sound — while using less bandwidth.

How NTIA Ensures Responders Can Communicate During Hurricane Recovery Efforts

October 11, 2017 by NTIA

United States Coast Guard helicopter
Source: United States Coast Guard

The devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria over the past few weeks triggered a massive response from emergency responders. Thousands of federal personnel have been deployed to the Gulf Coast, Florida, and the Caribbean, including National Guard troops, the Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency staff, mounting search-and-rescue missions and delivering emergency supplies of food and fresh water.

NTIA’s role in these efforts is ensuring that these responders can communicate with each other and with the various state and local agencies on the ground. After Hurricane Harvey, NTIA’s Scott Jackson and Ron Snider flew to Camp Mabry, Texas, where the Texas Department of Public Safety had set up a command post for its Communications Coordination Group. Jackson heads the Emergency Response Team for NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management (OSM), and Snider is a telecommunications specialist in OSM and also a member of the Emergency Response Team.

Three Papers Using NTIA Data to be Presented at Research Conference

September 07, 2017 by John B. Morris, Jr., Associate Administrator, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

For more than 20 years, NTIA has commissioned the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct surveys on Internet and computer use. The Census Bureau periodically includes this Digital Nation survey as a supplement to its Current Population Survey (CPS) – it’s one of numerous supplements that are regularly included with the CPS, with topics ranging from school enrollment to tobacco use.

NTIA has offered our analysis of the resulting data in a series of reports, and we post the raw datasets and other analysis tools to assist researchers who want to use the data. This enables researchers outside of government to make original and innovative use of the data in their own studies, which ultimately contribute to better-informed policymaking.

Tomorrow, three research papers using NTIA’s Digital Nation survey data will be presented at the 45th Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC), an annual conference attended by researchers, policymakers, and advocates from the public, academic, and private sectors. The papers serve as instructive examples of how researchers can take NTIA’s survey data beyond the basic metrics to offer unique and valuable insights into Internet use in America.

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